The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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It’s not pretty, but it is very important and serves as grist for lore and ritual the world over: Some cultures bury it, some consider it the baby’s sibling, some even eat it.
Not only is the placenta the trading post between the mother’s and the baby’s blood supply, at around week 12 it takes over the production of hormones needed to sustain the pregnancy. And recent research found that its structure may even determine the length of a pregnancy.
Although the placenta usually functions flawlessly, occasionally a problem arises:
Pregnant women have less sex than they’re used to having, particularly in the last trimester, research suggests. Considering that sex is usually safe, free and a good way for partners to stay close during what can be a stressful time, why is this? “Women aren’t having intercourse during pregnancy for many reasons,” says Shannon Clark, M.D., an assistant professor in the department of OB-GYN at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
We all know that giving birth rarely happens like it does on TV shows: Your water breaks; you gasp, exclaim, “She’s coming!” Then, lipstick refreshed, you cradle your newborn as your handsome husband looks on. Alternatively, we hope your experience isn’t going to be fodder for reality TV: A swarm of doctors sprints into the delivery room, shouting, “Get the NICU team, STAT! We’ve got a quadruple nuchal and need a cold-knife section!”
Seeing a pregnant woman jogging, swimming laps or lifting weights used to be a rare sight. Not anymore. Exercise is now considered an important part of a healthy pregnancy. "People used to think rest was the norm and exercise was dangerous, but now we realize that in a pregnancy free of complications, the opposite is true," says Mona Shangold, M.D., director of the Center for Women's Health and Sports Gynecology in Philadelphia.
We all know that giving birth isn't going to be like it is on TV dramas: Your water breaks; you gasp, exclaim, "She's coming!" Then, lipstick refreshed, you cradle your newborn as your handsome husband looks on. Alternatively, we hope it isn't going to be fodder for reality TV: A swarm of doctors sprints into the delivery room, shouting, "Get the NICU team, STAT! We've got a quadruple nuchal and need a cold-knife section!" More than likely, it will be somewhere between the two. However your labor story unfolds, being educated helps.